There’s no question that Jeff Juden, who makes his first start for the Angels tonight in Detroit, is a character. But I’m not sure he’s a Disney character.
I mean, here’s a guy who once missed a start because of an infected tattoo.
Jim Fregosi, who as Philadelphia’s manager in 1995 demoted Juden from his starting rotation, often has been quoted as calling him “the most unprofessional player I’ve ever seen.”
That quote, however, has been under-reported. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, here’s the entirety of Fregosi’s response when asked by Juden why he was demoted:
“Because you’re the most unprofessional player I’ve ever seen, you big, fat, lazy piece of garbage.”
Juden was hurt. No one had ever called him fat before.
“Unprofessional” also was Chuckie Carr’s adjective for Juden after the 6-foot-8, 265-pound right-hander had hit the moody Houston outfielder with a pitch, making him one of Juden’s numerous victims.
“Chuckie Carr is an idiot,” Juden said.
They were probably both right.
At least Manager Terry Collins knew what the Angels were getting when they traded for Juden, becoming his seventh team in a seven-year major league career.
Juden was in the middle of a 15-minute brawl in 1996 between Collins’ Houston Astros and the Montreal Expos. When it was over, Collins had to have four stitches to close a cut above his lip.
Collins’ hope is that the Angels also are getting the pitcher who won 10 consecutive decisions with San Francisco and Montreal in ’96.
In Juden, the Angels acquired a player who, for attitude, can compete with the Dodgers’ newest starting pitcher, Carlos Perez. . . .
Perez once called himself baseball’s version of Dennis Rodman. . . .
“He’ll be a great pitcher, if he stays sane,” said Montreal’s manager, Felipe Alou, when Perez was on his staff. . . .
It’s no secret Mike Piazza is unhappy in a Met uniform. . . .
The reason it’s no secret is that one person he confided in has been telling the media. . . .
That’s what Piazza gets for talking to Linda Tripp. . . .
Tripp is one of the few single women Piazza hasn’t been connected with in the New York tabloids. . . .
The latest is Anna Kournikova. . . .
“Never met her,” Piazza says of the Russian tennis player. . . .
The Dodgers are lucky because they won’t face either of Atlanta’s 15-game winners, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, when the Braves come to Dodger Stadium for a three-game series this weekend. . . .
But not that lucky. The Dodgers still must face Kevin Millwood (13-6), John Smoltz (10-2) and Denny Neagle (11-9). . . .
Barry Bonds explained to ESPN on Sunday that it was all right for him to tell Manager Dusty Baker to kiss his posterior. . . .
“Dusty is from Riverside,” Bonds said. . . .
Oh. . . .
In Times reporter Chris Dufresne’s fascinating stories Sunday on the mind, “Brain Doctor” Jonathan P. Niednagel says coyly that either Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf has the same brain type as great quarterbacks such as John Elway, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw and Johnny Unitas. . . .
The other? His brain type is the same as Scott Mitchell’s. . . .
My guess is that Leaf has the Unitas brain. . . .
No question Kirk Gibson’s home run and Jerry West’s 63-foot shot are the greatest clutch performances in L.A. sports history. . . .
But Mary Lou Retton’s 10.0 vault in the 1984 Summer Olympics belongs on the list. . . .
The biggest choke I’ve ever seen was Bernhard Langer’s missed six-foot putt to give the 1991 Ryder Cup trophy to the U.S. . . .
Those in Los Angeles trying to persuade the NFL to put a team here instead of Houston claim their chances have been hurt by negative press in both cities. . . .
An objective analysis from USA Today: “Houston has left Los Angeles far up the track in the race to become the NFL’s 32nd team.” . . .
The Dallas Cowboys will be better when Michael Irvin is no longer one of them. . . .
If that makes him mad, well, as far as I’m concerned, he’s from Riverside. . . .
I miss my phone calls from Harry Ornest. . . .
Each conversation with Ornest, the former owner of the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Argonauts who died last month at 75, was like a class in sports business. . . .
He wasn’t always objective. If he’d had his way, the Kings, Lakers and Clippers would soon be playing in a new arena next to a new football stadium at Hollywood Park, where he was vice chairman. . . .
But he wouldn’t have asked taxpayers for a dime. . . .
He believed the rich should pay for their toys, even if he was one of them. . . .
He won the last of many battles on the Saturday before he died. Defying a long-standing tradition in the Turf Club at Hollywood Park, he took off his sport coat. . . .
Chairman R.D. Hubbard asked him to put it back on but soon realized Ornest was committed to his position. . . .
Hubbard signaled defeat by taking off his sport coat.
While wondering if Chris Berman would call her Linda “Round” Tripp if she played sports, I was thinking: I had hoped the Sparks would emulate the Lakers instead of the Clippers, don’t worry about the lockout yet because nothing in the NBA is ever settled until the last two minutes, Mark McGwire should be enjoying this more.
Starting today, Randy Harvey’s Page Two column will appear Tuesday through Friday.